Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing Announces Pub Closure
One of America’s founding fathers of craft beer, Portland, OR’s Widmer Brothers Brewing, announced yesterday that they have closed their North Portland pub as of Sunday, January 20. First opened 22 years ago, the full-service restaurant pub underwent a renovation in 2014. However a year ago scaled back kitchen operations to just a limited menu.
The announcement made via the company’s Facebook page cited increased competition and profitability challeges which led to the pub’s demise. “Today, there are over 115 breweries in the Portland Metro area. With that increased competition, we have struggled to make the pub financially sustainable.”
Despite the closure, Widmer Brothers Brewing, which maintains a 250 barrel brewhouse with capabilities of producing 450,000 barrels a year, along with their 10 barel system Innovation Brewhouse will both continue to operate normally.
Founded by Kurt and Rob Widmer in 1984, Widmer Brothers brewing was one of Oregon’s earliest pioneers in brewing, creating the first American-style Hefeweizen and teaming up with Bridgeport Brewing Company and Portland Brewing Company in 1988 to start the Oregon Brewer’s Festival.
In 2008 Widmer Brothers merged with Redhook Brewing to form the Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), which is now 32.3% owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. CBA now also consists of Kona Brewing, Omission Beer, Square Mile Cider Company, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Cisco Brewers, and Wynwood Brewing.
Below is the full statement from Widmer Brothers Brewing:
Dear Widmer Brothers Friends and Family,
We are sad to announce that the Widmer Brothers pub will close its doors to the public today. This was a very hard decision to make, especially as we reflect on the pub’s past and plan an exciting future for the brewery, where our team will continue to brew your favorite Widmer Brothers beers.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to evolve the pub concept over the years, our pub has experienced profitability challenges. When the pub first opened in 1996, there were only a handful of breweries in the city. Today, there are over 115 breweries in the Portland Metro area. With that increased competition, we have struggled to make the pub financially sustainable.
While the pub closes today, we want to make sure you know that our dedicated team will continue bringing you your favorite Widmer Brothers beers. In fact, we plan to launch new beers in cans this year courtesy of a canning line installed late last year. We’ll also offer a revamped brewery tour debuting at Zwickelmania in mid-February, where you’ll be able to check out the new canning line, and both our production brewery and small-batch innovation brewery. Our retail store will remain open, as well.
This note wouldn’t be complete without thanking our pub customers for 22+ years of support – we wouldn’t have made it this long without you.
We also want to send our sincere thanks to our pub and banquets team for their passion and commitment to Widmer Brothers over the years. With this closure, two of our full-time staff will be staying with us in new roles, and seven employees will be leaving the company. We are providing departing employees with comprehensive severance packages.
Endings are never easy, but we hope you’ll continue to be a fan and enjoy our beers in the future.